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1. Greatest Australian YA book of all?
Kill Your Darlings launches its YA Championship today with Andrew McDonald’s love of Space Demons. Eleven contributors over three weeks will give their two cents on the best of Australian youth literature to help the public vote. Make sure you check in daily to reacquaint yourself with some great, and hopefully not forgotten, titles. KYD outlines the championship, contributors and titles up for the glory.
2. What is YA?
It is a discussion that continues over at Kill Your Darlings online with some fantastic insight from a range of youth literature professionals. The comments section is also providing food for thought – what does ‘young adult’ mean for you?
3. Cover remix
Melbourne based graphic designer, Jennifer Wu, has been working on this fun project for some time. She’s taking cliched book covers (specifically YA) and mixing them up with her incredible graphic skills. Not only are these covers beautiful but they demonstrate an understanding of the current marketing machine and display a wonderful sense of humour. Which one is your favourite? (I am quite partial to this one .)
4. Are YA authors in it for the $$?
Justine Larbalestier thinks not.
5. The Great eBook Debate
Isobelle Carmody has launched her blog, Greylands, with a bang. It has a limited life span – one month – and will represent many thoughts on eBooks and its impact on our industry. Every day features a new contributor; Erica Wagner (publisher, A&U), Melbourne Girls College students and even the magnificent Margo Lanagan revealing their thoughts on the eBook craze. Adele Walsh was also invited to contribute with her thoughts on her reluctance to start reading electronically and what doing so has meant for her reading habits.
More importantly, the blog launches Isobelle’s title Greylands into the electronic ether as an eBook.
Heartbreak is an experience we all go through. It’s the universal heart crushing, tear inducing, stomach clenching ick fest that seems to dominate our teen existence. Enjoy!
Getting Over Garrett Delaney
Sadie is deeply in love with Garrett, her best friend.
He’s going away and she finally realises they are never going to be a couple. Time for the twelve step detox program to get over him and find herself again.
McDonald has created a wealth of characters in this novel that I would like to adopt as my gang. Strong, vibrant, diverse women who help Sadie move on and out into the world. The dialogue is snappy and the detox involves Sadie wading into many of my favourite things in life (one of which is Veronica Mars).
Where She Went
Adam isn’t just heartbroken. His heart was ripped out, shredded, set alight and then stomped on when Mia left. It has been five years and he’s still angry, resentful and lost.
And then she’s back. One night. New York City. The lights, the music, the people. A chance for Adam to get over Mia, to understand why and where she went. A chance for a new start.
A great exploration of a ‘new adult’ character dealing with the rage of being left behind by the girl who meant everything.
Why We Broke Up
Mim and Ed are finished. Over. Dunzo.
In her last act of their history she is returning a box of items that act as signposts from their time together. Accompanying the box is a letter in which she provides the origin of each item and how they contributed to the end of their relationship.
Bitterness, humour and everything in between are portrayed in Handler’s words and Kalman’s whimsical illustrations.
Hardie Grant Egmont
Will Grayson, Will Grayson
John Green & David Levithan
Two perspectives from two different Will Graysons, as written by two different authors. It sounds chaotic enough to work and it does, exceedingly well.
If there’s ever a character to remember it is that of Ti
We’ve been surrounded by older male protagonists recently. Firstly there was Jordi’s review of Fire in the Sea, then there was our older male protagonists book list, and now it’s Trish Doller’s Something Like Normal.
When Travis returns home from a stint in Afghanistan, his parents are splitting up, his brother’s stolen his girlfriend and his car, and he’s haunted by nightmares of his best friend’s death. It’s not until Travis runs into Harper, a girl he’s had a rocky relationship with since middle school, that life actually starts looking up. And as he and Harper see more of each other, he begins to pick his way through the minefield of family problems and post-traumatic stress to the possibility of a life that might resemble normal again.
Male protagonists are hard to get right, I think. No matter the type of protagonist- sweet talking or plain speaking, the screw up or the straight and narrow, quiet or loud- the character deserves to have life breathed into them. They deserve to feel and express the vast emotions in our world. Sometimes I wonder if male protagonists get a bit of a hard deal. Do we let male protagonists express themselves, even in their inner thoughts? Has there been a genderisation of emotions; jealousy is feminine; anger is masculine; love, female; lust, male. Can female authors write true representations of male protagonists? Or is the true male protagonist that made my a male author? Does our very gender limit what we understand? Complex and compelling questions that I don’t have the answer to. I do know that I am harder on female authors writing male protagonists, along with male authors writing female protagonists. Do they really understand, I ask myself. Do I really understand?
All these questions and Something Like Normal helped me turn them off. Travis engaged with me as a reader. He wasn’t a romanticised Romeo, or a wise-cracking Stifler (American Pie). He moved through the plot with the whole range of emotions and he felt them in a unique and characterising way. He wasn’t feeling or expressing them as a man, he was feeling and expressing them as Travis. That’s not to say he didn’t fall into lust or anger, but when he did feel them he was confused and conflicted by them, such as his sexualisation and lust for his ex-girlfriend, Paige, worried him. Their sexual encounters fell flat for Travis because they lacked any kind of emotional connection. They made him feel uncomfortable, bereft and question his integrity as a person. His emotions were complex and conflicting, but he was able to acknowledge them straightforwardly (even if he felt unable to do something about it to break the pattern). I appreciated his honesty, even when I was put off by it (sleeping with his ex-girlfriend, who is currently his brother’s girlfriend, whilst in-like with his first crush). His lust and anger were unique to him, not a production of stereotypes. I didn’t read a female author writing a male protagonist, I read Travis’ story. I believed Travis and I believed Trish Doller.
His relationship with his mother was a highlight for me. It was really honest and one of the few times I’ve read where the complexity of mother-son relationships was focused on. Travis feels that he is to blame for the sadness that permeates his mother’s life, and he f
For Book Week celebrations in 1995, I went as a librarian. Not just any librarian, but the librarian, from The Great Piratical Rumbustification & The Librarian and the Robbers. Seventeen years after it was published, I was not just celebrating Margaret Mahy’s work, I was living it.
Ten years later and it’s 2005. I am an adult, living in a city townhouse with a tiny courtyard of grass – too small for a lawn mower, too big for secateurs. Every time I mow using a grass knife, I imagine myself as Dido in The Catalogue of the Universe.
Margaret Mahy was one of those authors who becomes inextricably entwined with your life. She leaves behind a tremendous legacy, and she will be greatly missed, as is testament by such posts as Allen & Unwin’s and Judith Ridge’s.
For more information on her life and work:
Beattie’s Book Blog
The Margaret Mahy Pages (Christchurch City Libraries)
The New Zealand Herald
The Centre for Youth Literature invites you to save the date for Reading Matters 2013.
Thursday 30th of May 2013
State Library of Victoria
Friday 31st of May
Saturday 1st of June
Storey Hall, RMIT
Start marking your calender folks! This promises to be a great program.
1. 2012 Text Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing
Congratulations to A.J. Betts, whose manuscript Zac and Mia has won the 2012 Text Prize. Zac and Mia, is a contemporary novel that deals with serious illness and friendship, and will be published in August 2013.
Last year’s winning book, Fire in the Sea by Myke Bartlett is released this week. (Seen our review?)
2. 2012 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards
Congratulations to Robert Newton, whose novel When We Were Two has won the 2012 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for young adult fiction.
3. Catching Fire casting news
Does this man look like Finnick Odair? Rumours say yes.
4. Championing YA
Esteemed journal Kill Your Darlings has announced an online championship of favourite Australian YA books. Not only can you vote for your favourite (from July 30), but if you do you’ll go in the running to win an awesome prize pack.
Champions include Centre for Youth Literature founder, Agnes Nieuwenhuizen, CYL Program Coordinator Adele Walsh, CYL Learning Programs Officer Jordi Kerr, and the mother of Inky (and an award-winning YA author to boot) Lili Wilkinson.
5. You’ll never get into this clubhouse
Brontë sisters action figures – these historical heroes are determined to get their books into print!
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There is no end to the ways in which a reader will engage with a book. Just as there is no end to the ways in which to engage a reader (because at the end of the day, we are all readers, just to varying degrees). The following is a list of books that have had fantastic book trailers made for them. They reflect the tone and atmosphere of the book and will, hopefully, inspire some of your students to engage with the story.
All the book trailers have been linked to in titles, lest I overdose your computer by attempting to upload them into this post. Safety first.
Maggie is a really special author; not only does she write really unique and beautiful books, she also plays and writes music, and can animate to create her own book trailers.
Shiver, Linger and Forever each have their own book trailer in the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy. She wrote, produced and performed the music in all the trailers, and used stop motion techniques to create movement in her drawn objects. There is a behind the scenes post on her blog about how she made the trailers. If you have any exceptionally artistic students, who you wish to engage, Maggie Stiefvater would be my first point of call.
She also created an animated trailer for The Scorpio Races.
This Is Shyness by Leanne Hall.
An animated book trailer that perfectly captures how truly unique and quirky This Is Shyness is. It also has that really grungy underground Melbourne feel to it, which is the book in a nutshell. It also has quotes that scroll through the video that will – hopefully – have your student asking for more.
Going Bovine book trailer is a mock interview with the author Libba Bray, who spends the entire interview dressed as a cow. It captures the crazy, funny, completely off centre feel of the book. Not to mention the crazy, funny, completely off centre personality of the author.
With a tag line like, ‘the feel-good mad-cow disease string-theory book of 2009′, you mostly can’t go wrong.
Her latest novel, B
It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?
Courtney Summers has hopped off the beaten trail with her fourth release, This Is Not A Test. Known for her quickly paced exploration of girl dynamics (and believe me that description underrates her), she has stepped into the world of the undead.
This Is Not A Test opens with Sloane wishing death upon herself. Deserted by her sister, plagued by her abusive father, she feels there is no other option. And then fate steps in (literally) through her window in the form of a fast moving, flesh seeking agent of death.
What results is a tense, taunt exploration of the human psyche as six teenagers find themselves the only living survivors of their town, trapped in a high school and surrounded by zombies (note: first mention of label on page 44). Unlike all of Summers previous works, there is a slow paced build that traces its way through suspicion, paranoia, risk and ultimately harm. With so much time trapped, personalities crystallised, motives shift and relationships form and un-form. The only thing that is certain: 1) no one is safe and 2) the zombies aren’t going away.
Unlike her fellow survivors Sloane resents the life she has managed to keep hold of. And yet, she keeps it a secret, locked away and buried not wanting to impact those around her. She is a character swamped in tragedy, hurt and depression, and yet there are glimmers of humour and light. Moments when the reader thinks that perhaps there is hope for her. We see the world as she sees it, through foggy spectacles of detachment – she wants nothing more than to be gone and yet those she is stuck with want to live, to escape, to be happy. It’s a complex conundrum that allows Summers to delve into each character, their relationships to one another and in turn how they affect Sloane. Summers is crafty that way – crafty, subtle and unpredictable.
The first chapter is so perfectly written that it sketches Sloane’s home life in a way that is much more terrifying than that of the zombie infestation soon upon her. This knowledge sits so close that it ingrains the audience pushing them through Sloane’s moments of ambivalence, silence and inactivity until action cannot be avoided.
The tension and fear build but are never portrayed from Sloane’s perspective, it is all second-hand as those around her spin off kilter, bouncing off one another or being caught in the recoil. Nevertheless, you feel real concern for each of the characters as they are faced with the real possibility that their lives are to be extinguished before they leave their school yard.
1. The importance of sex in YA books
It’s a controversial (and trigger-laden) topic, and this blog post by YA author Foz Meadows is sure to stimulate discussion.
‘Sex/y scenes in YA matter because, by the very nature of belonging to a permitted form of media, they help to disassociate sex from surreptitious secrecy: they make it something open rather than furtive, something that rightfully belongs to you, the reader, because the book was meant for you to read and remember. It doesn’t matter if the scene is detailed or not, if it’s only fiery kisses or much, much more: the point is that you’re allowed to have it, allowed to enjoy it, and that perhaps for the first time in your life, you’re viewing something arousing that doesn’t make you out to be a sex object in heels, but an active, interesting heroine who also happens to have a love life.’
What do you think? Is there a lack, and a need for, positive sex/y scenes in YA novels?
2. You’re The Voice
We’re very excited about a brand new feature on insideadog.com.au - You’re The Voice will host a different teenager each month, showcasing their thoughts on reading and writing.
Our very first contributor is Chelsea, a 15 year old from Victoria. She tackles the tricky topic of popular fiction:
‘What I am upset about is that readers do not go out of their comfort zone when it comes to reading and that they go on the opinions of others, and I believe that you will not know how you really feel about it until you read it for yourself.’
3. Anne-with-an-e meets generation Z
A Canadian comany wants to reboot Anne of Green Gables for the modern audience, and is shopping for international partners to assist with the development.
4. Making the Queensland Literary Awards Pozible
In April it was announced that the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards would be discontinued. In response, a Queensland Literary Awards Committee has come together and launched a Pozible campaign to keep the awards going (sans-Premier). A month and a half, and just over $7,500 to go…
5. 2012 Davitt Awards for Crime
The longlist for the 2012 Davitt Awards has been announced. Congratulations to the following Children’s & Young Adult authors:
- J.C Burke, Pig Boy (Random House)
- Ursula Dubosarsky, The Golden Day (Allen & Unwin)
- Susan Green, The Truth about Verity Sparks (Walker Books)
- Jacqueline Harvey,Alice-Miranda at Sea (Random H
- Date: Tuesday 31 July 2012
- Time: 6:30pm-8:30pm
- Cost: $35.00 (for catering)
- Book through our online booking system
- Venue: State Library of Victoria
Good Afternoon CYL loyalists!
We’re knee deep into planning our next Booktalkers event. It’s all Middle Years, all the time. So, what’s on the program?
Kate Constable will be on the panel talking about her recently shortlisted title, Crow Country, on the WA Premier’s Award. Crow Country was also shortlisted on the 2012 CBCA for Younger Readers and shortlisted for the Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature (Children’s Literature). She is also one of the author’s in Allen & Unwin’s Girlfriend Fiction series
Aurealis winner, Tom Taylor, will be talking graphic novels and The Deep: Here be Dragons. He is best known for his Star Wars graphic novels for Lucasfilm and Dark Horse comics, including the critically acclaimed Star Wars: Blood Ties series and Star Wars: Invasion. He has written in the Batman and Green Lantern series for DC comics. Tom was also our Writer-In-Residence over at Inside A Dog last month.
Author and Illustrator Gabrielle Wang is not only this month’s Writer-In-Residence over at Inside A Dog, but a former winner of the Aurealis Awards herself. She has also been shortlisted for QLD Premier’s Award, a CBCA Notable and has been ‘highly commended’ on the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards.
We hope you can make it down for what promises to be an exciting and rewarding night of YA book talk.
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It’s been almost a year since Gaby Winters was in the car crash that killed her twin brother, Jude. Her body has healed in the sunshine of Pandanus Beach, but her grief is raw and constant.
It doesn’t help that every night in her dreams she kills demons and other hell-spawn. And then Rafa comes to town. Not only does he look exactly like the guy who’s been appearing in Gaby’s dreams, he claims a history with her brother that makes no sense.
Gaby is forced to accept that what she thought she knew about herself and her life is only a shadow of the truth—and that the truth is more likely to be found in the shadows of her nightmares.
Who is Rafa? Who are the Rephaim? And most importantly—who can she trust?
When talking or reading about YA Urban Fantasy or YA Paranomal Romance, I think we’ve all become a little leery over the last few years. There came a time, for me, where I was beginning to get derisive of the genre. I felt maxed out, like there was nothing fresh or new coming through. This, of course, is a heinous lie. There’s always the good, I was just sick of wading through the bad. Upon reflection I have been more than a little unjust.
There are some great books and series out there, you just have to know where to look, or more importantly, who to trust. Not to mention, I think the genre is actually fighting back. You have talent like Laini Taylor with her rich, electrifying and beautifully written, Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Courtney Summers (YA contemporary issue-based writer), who has forayed into the zombie apocalypse with a suicidal teen protagonist with This is Not a Test.
We also have home grown talent, which is where the real gems often lay. I originally had little intention of reading Shadows by Paula Weston, but something began to gnaw at me. There were great reviews beginning to trickle through, people who I liked and trusted were giving it five star ratings, so I said ‘well heck, just go for it.’
Shadows works. It has managed the knack of creating plausibility in an unreality. Fallen angels and their offspring aren’t hanging out on Earth fighting each other and demons, I know this. But if you’re going to write a book about it then you need to make me believe, at the very least, that the dialogue is authentic and the characters could be someone you know. Paula Weston gives us this. She gives us a main character that moves through the book; Gaby isn’t passive and woebegone, too much is happening, she doesn’t have time to laze about! Her reactions to situations weren’t extreme, she took to The Rephaim with the appropriate amount of cynicism and skepticism. The characters felt present and engaged in their own storyline.
Shadows plays into some tropes of the paranormal romance genre, there’s a love triangle technically, but the circumstances around Gaby and her memory add a unique twist to the situation. I also thought it was one of the better written fighting and action scenes I had read in YA.
All in all, Shadows is a fast-paced, page-turner with likable and believable characters. I would advise caution when deciding to recommend it to teenagers, as there is several instances where there is severe language (the F word being the offender) used.
The relationship between siblings is often removed to a tertiary plot point position in young adult literature. If it is the main focus quite often one of the siblings is a) missing, 2) run away, or 3) dead. In this book list I shall endeavour to give you a mix of the above with some exploration into less dramatic sister relationships.
Little Women by L.M. Alcott
You cannot talk about sisters and not mention the March family.
Four sisters as different from one another as girls can be with the familiar push/pull of familial relations. Whether it be the closeness of Jo and Beth, or the antagonism between Jo and Amy – the reader knows these sisters are tight.
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
This is a novel in which the older sister has just died but it is the consequential fall out that captures the imagination. Lennie’s grief is intertwined with that of her sister’s boyfriend, her family as well as coping with the new guy in her life. All is depicted with a beautiful emotion balance that is at time filtered through Lennie’s poetical writing.
The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June by Robin Benway
Upon their parent’s divorce sisters April, May and June recover their childhood powers. The oldest sister is a worrier and has the power of precognition, the second feels invisible and can become so when she wills it and the youngest can read minds. Benway’s witty and fluid dialogue allows the sister’s love and loathing for one another to play authentically. Family upheaval, high school and the onset of magical powers make this a fun read.
Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan
A challenging exploration of two sisters dealing with the need to assert independence whilst also competing for the attentions of others. Lanagan has created a complex world that allows the sisters to self actualise despite the challenges and threats of an uncertain world. For sophisticated readers.
Allen and Unwin
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1. WA Premier’s Literary Awards
The lovely folk over in Western Australia have announced their choices for the 2011 WA Premier’s Literary Awards. Congratulations to the following shortlisted authors (and their publishers) in the young adult category:
- Crow Country by Kate Constable
- Horses for King Arthur by LS Lawrence
- The Coming of the Whirlpool by Andrew McGahan
- The Dead I Know by Scot Gardner
- Only Ever Always by Penni Russon
- Whisper by Chrissie Keighery
2. Interview yourself 20 years into the future
Last week a video went viral of a 32 year old man interviewing his 12 year old self. What resulted is mind bending hilarity. Special credit for the Dr Who mention.
Link to video.
3. Jodi Picoult on tour
Jodi Picoult and her daughter, Samantha, have co-written the novel Between the Lines which was released on 2 July 2012. Perfect timing for an Australian tour, we say. And so it is – you can catch Jodi and Samantha in various locations throughout WA, NSW, Queensland and Victoria from mid-July. Click here for dates (booking is sometimes necessary).
Keep up with the Australian tour through the Facebook fan page.
4. Your e-reader is reading you
The Wall Street Journal published an article last week on the way e-readers have allowed reading to become quantifiable. Data on the way in which you read, and purchase reading material, have helped make reading an increasingly measurable exercise. How long you read, how quickly it take you to finish, do you purchase the next in the series etc all this assists in crafted a more detailed sense of today’s reader.
This article is full of interesting pieces of analysis on people’s reading habits, including:
“Nook users who buy the first book in a popular series like “Fifty Shades of Grey” or “Divergent,” a young-adult series by Veronica Roth, tend to tear through all the books in the series, almost as if they were reading a single novel.”
Not surprising but helpful all the same.
5. Vale Pamela Lofts
It is with great sadness that the Centre for Youth Literature notes the passing of illustrator Pamela Lofts. Lofts’ beautiful work graces such titles as Mem Fox’s Koala Lou and Hunwick’s Egg, and (perhaps most famously) Marcia Vaughan’s gooey, brewy, yummy, chewy, Wombat Stew. May her wombat live on to entertain many generations, ever unstewed.
Sadie is bored. Summer, beach, gossip – nothing ever changes.
Then something comes out of the sea, and everything changes.
Sadie receives a mysterious inheritance. A strange young man turns up, claiming to be someone he can’t be. And a horned beast roams the city, bellowing for blood.
Soon Sadie is catapulted into a centuries-old conflict on the brink of a final, terrible showdown. At the centre of it all is an ancient relic that has the power to save her city – or destroy the world.
But the relic has been stolen.
And time is running out.
Imagine John Marsden and Suzanne Collins cowrote a Narnian story. That’s the closest approximation I can make for the entirely unique story, tone, and feel of Fire in the Sea. Allow me to elaborate…
Aside from both being male and Australian, and bringing the inevitable sensibilities of this to their writing, both Marsden and Bartlett write with simplicity and elegance.
Like The Hunger Games, Fire in the Sea is a fast-paced and visual novel. Bartlett has a background in film criticism, and I feel his passion for that medium really shines through in his writing. The action sequences flow frequently and seamlessly, like any good movie. And like any good book, they are easy to follow, and easy to imagine.
The plot is seeped in old-world mythology – the kind of mythology where ancient creatures are covered in blood rather than glitter. The book’s cover may scream pre-teen boy action-adventure, but don’t let it fool you – Fire in the Sea is violent and sophisticated. On more than one occasion while reading it I’d shudder, grimace, and finally concede ‘okay, that’s awesome’.
Marsden and Collins are both renowned for strong female proagonists and Fire in the Sea’s Sadie could hold her own right alongside Ellie and Katniss. Sadie is more concerned with actions and consequences than what she’s wearing. She’s made all the more likeable for having depth to her emotions – she navigates incredibly complicated situations with all the difficulty of a teenager who has a painful past, a sense of familial duty, and her own conflicting desires. Most importantly, she doesn’t always do so successfully.
For readers who need a little bit of love or a lot of eye-candy in their YA, Fire in the Sea will not disappoint on that front either. While it does feature the unrequited-love scenario, Bartlett adds life to an old angst by bestowing it upon Tom, the supporting male character.
My only criticism of Fire in the Sea is that because the book starts with such strength, and sustains it through the often-tricky second act, the climax was a tad underwhelming. I wanted slightly bigger fireworks for the final action sequence to really stand out. Fire in the Sea is Bartlett’s first book beyond the self-publishing realm, and it does have that new-author feel. I can’t wait to see what book comes next.
It’s been too long since I was excited about a debut book. It’s been too long since there was a strong, new, male voice in the Australian YA scene. It’s been too long since I felt confident in recommending a book to an older teen (particularly male) audience. Thank you, Myke Bartlett and Text Publishing.
Fire in the Sea is rel
When Jordi’s book review, Myke Bartlett’s Fire in the Sea, went up on Wednesday, we were struck by one of her closing lines.
It’s been too long since I felt confident in recommending a book to an older teen (particularly male) audience.
As is our way, we put our heads together to come up with a list of older YA male protagonists for older YA males.
Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
Little bit of a cheat, as Harry grows older as the series goes on, but I take them where I can get them. Set in a world of magic, we follow Harry as he tackles school, friends and a growing magical war.
Paulsen makes it a bit of a (lovely) habit to writer older male protagonists into his YA novels. Older male protagonists who are discovering love and life for the first time, in sad circumstances.
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Maragret Stohl
I labelled this ‘male Twilight’ when I first read it and I feel like it does the job of encompassing the whole feel of the book. Boy sees girl, boy instantly falls for girl, boy realises weird things are going on. We’re so used to seeing female protagonists in YA paranormal romance that it’s nice to see the boys are presented as well.
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride
Our protagonist Sam is college-aged. Necromancer strikes that really perfect line of humour, creep factor and likability in it’s characters.
Another author who writes older male protagonists, Green covers out barely there contemporary YA. An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns, and Looking for Alaska contain slightly nerdy teenage boys who get the beautiful teenage girl.
Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson
Tyler is stepping back into his senior year of high school, where he has been absent while finishing h
Recently there have been some branding updates to the Read Alert blog, including the RSS feed. If you’ve noticed that you haven’t been receiving Read Alert through your RSS feed, you may need to resubscribe. We apologise for any inconvenience.
1. The Rise of Apoca-lit
Great article on the apocalypse trend in YA. While The Hunger Games are raking in the recognition at the moment, the article provides a great YA apocalyptic book list for all your students asking ‘what next?’
2. Comics and The Classroom: Supporting Female Students
Matt, over at Books and Aventures, has a great discussion post on engaging female students with comic books. He picked some specialists in the field (including our very own Adele Walsh), and asked some really great questions.
Louie Stowell (children’s writer) made a really great point about the value of comic books in furthering literacy skills.
I think that in all the panic about literacy, it’s often forgotten that visual literacy is a valuable skill in itself. Narrative is narrative, whether it’s embodied in words or images, or both.
3. The YA Cover Trend: Do Teens Judge a Book by it’s Cover?
To keep the classics in vogue several publishers have been revamping their classic lines. This started a few years ago with Twilightesq covers for Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice (Bella’s ‘favourite’ books). The trend hasn’t really slowed down any. What’s interesting is that it’s working. The teen market is finding the new covers to be accessible to them. At least to buy, but does this translate into reading? Does lining up old world romances, such as Jane Eyre, with YA paranormal romance really send the right message? Is it setting up the reader for disappointment? Or does the quality of tales such as Romeo and Juliet and Dracula win out?
4. Text Prize Shortlist
The contenders are Zac and Mia, a contemporary novel that deals with serious illness and friendship, Heart of Brass, a historical sci-fi with a very unique protagonist, and Painting Phantoms, set in the Australian bush it is highly on adventure and thrill.
5. MIFF and the Bully Documentary.
Bully is a documentary, by award winning Lee Hirsh, about the epidemic of peer bullying in America. After a MPAA (Motion Pictures Association of America) recommended rating of R, the